Colorado lawmakers want to protect data from warrantless searches

Photo: State capitol April 2014 bVoters could get a chance to change the Fourth Amendment of Colorado's constitution to add "electronic data" to a list of protections against unreasonable searches. State lawmakers are weighing a bi-partisan concurrent resolution to place the issue on the statewide ballot in November and on Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously agreed to move the resolution forward.

Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), says e-data should be treated like a file cabinet in your house.

“Just because it sits on a cloud somewhere else doesn’t mean it's free to be perused as if you had thrown it out on the sidewalk," Brophy says. "It’s still our private data, and it should not be looked out without a warrant.”

And resolution co-sponsor, Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) says this idea has bi-partisan support.

“We started down the world of warrantless searches after the Patriot Acts, and we’ve been really slow to push back or put up any boundaries to kind of reestablish some balance and frankly some protections of civil liberties on this front," she said.

A state prosecutors group says the change is too broad, and warned of unintended consequences.

The proposal needs a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate in order to be placed on the ballot this fall.